Dairy farmers are experts at animal care, land preservation and dairy foods; and dairy advocate Sara Gillette shared this expertise when she spoke with members of the East Rochester Rotary Club about dairy farming.
Gillette works with 340 dairy farmers in New York state as a milk inspector and animal well being specialist for Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc. She grew up on a Guernsey farm with a milking herd of 60 cows along with raising corn and alfalfa. The farm was sold when Gillette was 24 years old, but that did not stop her dairy career. While working as a bulk milk truck driver, she accepted her position with Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc.
Gillette covered all aspects of dairy farming, from how the calves and cows are cared for to what crops are grow on most local dairies to practices implemented on farm to help increase the environmental sustainability of the industry.
“While each dairy farm is a little different, all cows are given a nutritious diet, good medical care, and healthy living conditions,” said Gillette.
She discussed what a day in the life of a calf and an adult cow looks like, including how much time cows usually spend lying down, eating and being milked. She also mentioned the various types of technologies utilized on farms to help monitor cow activity and health.
Additionally, Gillette emphasized the steps farmers take to increase the environmental sustainability of their farms.
“Farmers work with experts to find the best ways to reduce energy use, conserve water, and protect the land,” said Gillette.
Gillette’s insight into the daily life of a dairy farmer was an eye-opener for some of the members of the East Rochester Rotary Club. Now, club members know they can purchase milk and dairy products with confidence because of the care dairy farmers take to produce it. Additionally, they learned that many dairies welcome visitors, and they were encouraged to reach out to nearby farms to find out more information about how milk is produced by local farms.
Visit americandairy.com for more information.